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National gardening week

Getting outdoors is one of the best ways to boost your mental and physical wellbeing. Add in some moderate gardening exercise and you’re well on your way to reducing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

During National Gardening Week (26 April to 2 May 2021) the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is encouraging people of all ages to get involved in tending to their garden. And the health benefits of doing this are plentiful.

Gardening is a great way to stay fit without expensive gym membership. It helps you to achieve all round exercise while improving strength, stamina and flexibility. Cutting back hedges with hand-held shears, for instance, strengthens your core as well as your biceps and triceps. Remember though with any activities to bend at the knees to prevent back strain and potential injuries.

From digging to planting and pruning, just 30 minutes of general, green-fingered activity can burn off 135 calories. That’s comparable to the amount burnt off playing badminton or volleyball for the same length of time.

Caring for your garden is a convenient way to boost your mental wellbeing too, with proven effects on reducing depression and anxiety.

If you turn your hand to growing fruit or vegetables, there are many nutritional health benefits to be enjoyed too. Studies have shown that the speed in which home grown produce moves from the plot to plate means the foods are still at their nutritional peak. You don’t need to have a garden to grow them – a window box or patio area are perfect for smaller fruits or vegetables. Why not try growing salad leaves in a tray, you can grow cut-and-come again salads in just six weeks!

Having fresh organic ingredients growing within arms-reach of your kitchen is a source of inspiration when it comes to planning meals, and getting your children or grandchildren involved in growing and picking them is encouraging them to eat healthily too.

Why not join the celebrations of National Gardening Week and get digging for a healthier lifestyle!

It is very important to understand your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Our simple online health check takes just a few minutes. The Healthier You programme is free to join and you can sign up without visiting your GP.

It might be the most important thing you do today.

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